In june 2018, the nuclear medicine department finally moved into its own premises in building B2.

The department is currently equipped with the following :

  • Digital PET-CT using the latest solid silicon detectors (replacing the classic photomultiplier tubes) for the high-precision analysis of cell metabolism. The high sensitivity detectors mean patients spend less time in the scanner (scan acquisition time reduced by around 30% compared to an analog PET scanner). The Philips Ambilight also creates a relaxing atmosphere;
  • Digital SPECT-CT gamma camera (CZT semiconductor technology) enabling the simultaneous acquisition of 3D volume images obtained using scintigraphy (SPECT) and morphologic images (CT scanner). The combined functional and anatomical information thus obtained helps to significantly increase diagnostic accuracy and the specificity of the examination;
  • X-ray based done densitometer (DeXA mineralometer) enabling the analysis of bone mineral content (osteoporosis screening) ans assessing the distribution of muscles and fat in the organism (body composition analysis).

Equipment :

  • SPECT/CT - GE Healthcare DISCOVERY 670 CZT
  • PHILIPS VEREOS digital PET/CT
  • LUNAR iDXA - GE Healthcare
  • Hot laboratory
  • (Exercise) stress test room
  • Picture archiving and communication system (PACS) using Osirix

 

 

A scintigraphy examination involves detecting potential dysfunction of a target organ (heart, skeleton, thyroid, lungs, kidneys, etc.) using a specific apparatus, the gamma camera, which is technologically different from the equipment used in radiology.

Investigating possible dysfunction requires the administration of a substance with a specific affinity to the target organ, known as a tracer.

This tracer will have been marked prior to administration with a radioactive molecule, or isotope, which emits a tiny amount of radioactivity in the form of gamma rays, lasting a limited amount of time. The combination of these two molecules forms a radiotracer (or radiopharmaceutical).

Finally, the gamma camera detects the radioactive signal emitted by the radiotracer incorporated in the target organ.

Preparation for the examination

Nuclear medicine examinations are contraindicated during pregnancy except in medical emergencies. Women of childbearing age and/or those who wish to become pregnant must keep the care team informed of any late periods before the radiotracer is administered.

Breastfeeding may be continued after scintigraphy; it is, however, necessary to express and discard milk during the 24 hours following injection of the radiotracer.

Unless otherwise indicated by the office when you make an appointment (mainly for cardiac and thyroid scintigraphies), no specific preparation or diet is required. Likewise, you do not need to interrupt your treatment.


Course of the examination

The examination contains the following three steps:

1. Administration of the radiotracer:

  • Intravenous injection
  • In rare cases, oral administration (radioactive iodine capsule)

2. Uptake of the radiotracer:

  • Depending on the organ being examined, it is necessary to wait anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours after the radiotracer is administered before taking the images.
  • During this time you are encouraged to drink and urinate frequently in order to boost elimination of the radiotracer in your blood and urine and therefore to improve the quality of the images.

3. Acquisition of scintigraphy images:

  • Before the images are acquired, you must remove all metallic objects (jewellery, keys, etc.).
  • You must lie on your back for the examinations.
  • To obtain good-quality images, camera detectors will pass very close to you without touching you.
  • It is important to remain still while the images are being acquired, which could last 30 minutes or more depending on the type of scintigraphy.
  • For your comfort and safety, a technician will constantly monitor the progress of the examination.
  • After the examination you can return home or to your room and resume normal activities.
  • The results will be sent directly to the prescribing doctor by the departmental chief physician.

Is the examination dangerous?

No, because there is no toxicity.
Furthermore, the radioactivity administered is as low as possible and disappears from your body within a few hours, mainly by natural radioactive degeneration and urination.
For examinations with higher levels of radioactivity (heart scintigraphy), the effective dose received by the body is approximately ten millisieverts (mSv), which corresponds is the level of low doses of x-ray examinations or one or more years of natural radiation in Switzerland..
Finally, the risk of cancer induced by such low radiation has never been demonstrated.
  
What are the contraindications for scintigraphy?

Nuclear medicine exams are contraindicated during pregnancy except in medical emergencies. Women of childbearing age and/or those who wish to become pregnant must keep the care team informed of any late periods before the radiotracer is administered.

Breastfeeding may be continued after scintigraphy; it is, however, necessary to express and discard milk during the 24 hours following injection of the radiotracer.

There are, however, no contraindications for infants, the elderly, those with renal insufficiency, or patients who are allergic to the iodinated contrast media used in scans.

Is any special preparation required for this examination?

Generally no, unless otherwise indicated by our office when you make an appointment (iodine 123 thyroid scintigraphy).

Do I have to stop taking my current medication?

Except in specific cases (thyroid or heart scintigraphy), which will be mentioned when you make an appointment, you do not have to make any changes to your treatment.
 
May I come with a friend or parent?

Certainly. However, as in all departments in controlled areas, they cannot accompany you to the examination area.

We recommend that you do not bring children or pregnant women, unless they are the ones to undergo the examination.

How long do I have to wait between the injection and the examination?

Depending on the organ being studied, the wait may last from a few minutes to a few hours.
 
How long does the examination last?

The total duration varies depending on the type of scintigraphy (30 minutes or more).

Is the examination painful?

You will only feel the needle prick, as with a blood sample. There will be no effects after the injection. The injected product does not make you drowsy, and you will be able to drive.
 
What happens after the examination?

You can resume all personal and professional activities, except if you work with children or pregnant women.

It is recommended that you continue to drink several glasses of water in the hours following the end of the examination, in order to eliminate residual radioactivity.
 
What happens with the images?

They are sent with the examination report directly to the doctor who prescribed the examination.

Comment obtenir un rendez-vous?

  • par téléphone : +41 22 719 77 40
  • en vous présentant sur place, au secrétariat de radiologie, heures d'ouverture du lundi au vendredi de 8h à 17h00

Quels renseignements à fournir?

  • nom et prénom
  • date de naissance
  • adresse et numéro de téléphone
  • assurance
  • type d'examen demandé
  • nom du médecin prescripteur
  • poids et taille

Où se trouve le service?

Le service se trouve au rez-de-chaussée de l'hôpital, l’accès se faisant par l'entrée principale des urgences. La réception et la salle d'attente sont les mêmes que celles de la radiologie. 

Le jour de l'examen

Présentez-vous à la réception de radiologie, 10 minutes avant l'heure d'examen. Si vous avez un empêchement ou un retard, veuillez prévenir notre secrétariat.

Merci de prendre avec vous le jour de l’examen :

  • La prescription de votre médecin
  • les images et résultats des examens à votre disposition (échographie, scanner, IRM, radiographies, prise de sang)
  • votre carte d'assuré

Nous restons à votre disposition pour tout complément d’informations.

Dr Renaud Guignard, Spécialiste FMH en Médecine Nucléaire, Médecin responsable  

Mme Dominique Guiguet, Responsable Médecine Nucléaire et Radioprotection.

Last modified on January 1st, 2014.

Interwiew by Dr Renaud Guignard

Our specialists

Hôpital de La Tour

Dr med. Gaël Amzalag +41 22 719 77 40
Dr med. Renaud Guignard +41 22 719 77 40

Hors Campus

Dr Jean-Pierre Papazyan (+41) 22 366 94 84

Contact

Secrétariat de médecine nucléaire :

Tél: +41 22 719 77 40

Fax: +41 22 719 77 41

Mail: secretariat.medecine-nucleaire@latour.ch

Responsable du Service de Médecine Nucléaire et de la radioprotection:

Madame Dominique Guiguet

Tél: +41 22 719 61 21

Mail: dominique.guiguet(at)latour.ch

Administrateur du Département d'Imagerie Médicale:

Monsieur Philip Veitch

Tél: +41 22 719 61 75

Mail: philip.veitch(at)latour.ch

Demande d'examens